Detroit Red Wings
From now until the start of next season, I’ll be looking at each NHL team’s prospect situation and assessing each prospect’s projected fantasy value. With all due respect to turnover leagues, I will be focusing solely on keeper and dynasty leagues, because prospects have minimal value in re-draft leagues. Most fantasy leagues vary in structure, so for the purpose of this exercise, I will be referring to leagues that include a main roster and a prospect roster, each with their own respective draft.
This week we move up to the 25th placed Detroit Red Wings.
After an injury filled 2015-16 season, expectations were up in Detroit. Sadly, it was another year of injuries and disappointment for Red Wings fans. There were rumors about trades, and in the end, Detroit played out the string and did not get a top-five pick, either. Ken Holland took another hit to his image as prospects seem to not be panning out like they used to.
Unfortunately, most of Detroit’s prospects have not seen the prime time just yet. That may change this year. On the other hand, another season of development may pay off handsomely for some of their prospects. Fans of the Red Wings need a few of these players to make the jump this year. Last season, too many struggled in the system, which hampered Detroit when there were injuries. Let us start off with the highest potential and work our way down.
1. Tyler Bertuzzi, RW/LW
Age: 22 H/W: 6’1″/194 pounds.
Drafted: Round 2, Pick 58 in 2013 by Buffalo
2016-17 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins, AHL
48 GP, 12 G, 25 A, 37 Pts, +15, 37 PIM
Bertuzzi had a nice season for the Red Wings’ AHL affiliate, to say the least. He is a young forward that many have hope for. Bertuzzi shined in the playoffs with 19 points in 19 games. New Jersey has center depth in their prospect and team ranks. When teams were more physical with Bertuzzi, he proved to be up to the task. It was an encouraging development not lost on both management and Bertuzzi himself.
He may start off in Detroit this time, as the Red Wings need forward help. Training camp will be telling because that can be an avenue for Bertuzzi to move up on the depth chart. Also, his defensive game has improved as well. That will be an aspect to keep an eye on, as far as the NHL level. There is upside, but Detroit fans need to be patient. Bertuzzi must balance his temper with his competitive fire.
2. Evgeny Svechnikov, RW/LW
Age: 20 H/W: 6’3″/ 205 pounds.
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 19 in 2015 by Detroit
2016-17 Team: Grand Rapids Griffins
74 GP, 20 G, 31 A, 51 Pts, Even, 62 PIM.
Svechnikov enjoyed a nice campaign for Grand Rapids but could not crack the Red Wings just yet. Overall, the forward had 12 points in 19 games for Grand Rapids in the playoffs. Yes, the winger created his share of chances. On the other hand, execution on those chances was problematic. What has to be different now?
[the_ad id=”384″]The key will be for Svechnikov to execute at the NHL level. His lower body is extremely strong, and the upper body is obvious. Few can dispute that. Now the increased hand-to-eye coordination near the net and shot must improve. One final issue is defensive gap play covering other forwards. The Russian improved as the season went on, and that must continue. There are some who believe that he still has top-six upside. Detroit thinks he could turn heads quickly.
3. Michael Rasmussen,
Age: 20 H/W: 6’6″/220 pounds.
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 9 in 2017 by Detroit
2016-17 Team: Tri-City Americans (WHL)
50 GP, 32 G, 23 A, 55 Pts, -13, 50 PIM
Rasmussen flourished for Tri-City. He had 55 points, and his possession metrics were good relative to the team. His ability to battle near the crease was a huge asset as the year went on. Rasmussen’s competitive fire makes him hard to play against. Also, he is a forward who can take it and dish it out. The Red Wings will have to be patient with him, but the payoff could be great.
As he gains more experience, Rasmussen could crack the Red Wings roster in a few years. The forward wants to play in the NHL sometime in the next two campaigns. Fortunately, the depth chart may be of help. Time is not on some of the older Red Wings players’ sides, and Detroit needs Rasmussen to develop sooner rather than later. It is that kind of desperation that may rush the forward into the NHL. Will he be ready?
4. Dennis Cholowski, D
Age: 19 H/W: 6’1″/ 175 pounds.
Drafted: Round 1, Pick 20 in 2016 by Detroit
2016-17 Team: St. Cloud State University
36 GP, 1 G, 11 A, 12 Pts, -9, 14 PIM.
Cholowski is another prospect that is a project, but the time at the junior level will be helpful. He has potential, and it could be seen in flashes. Detroit is desperate to see one of their defensemen develop, as their penalty kill has become quite the sieve. Filip Hronek is in the same kind of mold.
Cholowki’s best opportunity is with the Red Wings. The defenseman must play a better two-way game and develop upper body strength. His shot is erratic at times and also needs improvement. Again, there is much to work on, That seems to be a constant theme with Detroit’s prospect pool. It is also a product of picking late for so many years.
5. Keith Petruzzelli, G
Age: 18 H/W: 6’6″/ 190 pounds.
Drafted: Round 3, Pick 88 in 2017 by Detroit
2016-17 Team: Muskegon (USHL)
35 GP, 2.40 GAA, .918 save percentage
Petruzzelli plays the game in a simple way. His economy of motion is in stark contrast to Jared Coreau. Most will argue that Coreau is only a placeholder as the third-round pick develops. The tall goaltender will head to Quinnipiac in the Fall, and that is one of the top universities in the nation. He is in good hands there.
That will be the key in the future Red Wings’ development. Players like Petruzzelli must pan out and exceed expectations. If they do not, then things will be bleak in Detroit for a while. No one likes to hear that, but this is the reality. When there are lots of projects, that is concerning.
Prospect Grade: C-
Detroit’s prospect situation is not good, as the Red Wings have significant holes in their prospect ranks. Some will even think the C- grade is being too generous. There are several first-round prospects when Detroit needs some talent right now. Ken Holland was able to fend off this inevitability for so long. Unfortunately, the time has come, and the Red Wings must pay the piper. If these projects mostly bust, then look out!
That does it for this week’s prospect report, but be sure to come back next week when we look at the Dallas Stars. As always, feedback is appreciated, and I’d love to hear what changes you would all make to this list. Leave your thoughts in the comment section! Thanks for reading, and keep your stick on the ice!
All statistics taken from: